Stodmarsh Nature Reserve and planning applications – interactive map

Advice produced by Natural England in July 2020 may cause delays to planning applications and appeals in the following council areas:

  • Ashford Borough Council
  • Canterbury City Council
  • Folkestone & Hythe District Council
  • Maidstone Borough Council
  • Dover District Council

It is Natural England’s view that a likely significant effect on the internationally designated Stodmarsh sites (Special Protection Area, Special Area of Conservation and Ramsar site) cannot be ruled out due to the increases in wastewater from new developments coming forward in the Stodmarsh catchment.

Until an area wide solution is found Natural England advises that appropriate assessments will be required for any planning application that may cause an increase in wastewater coming forward. Importantly, that appropriate assessment must consider the existing nutrient and conservation status of the receiving waters.

What does this mean practically?

Practically, this means that if your development is discharging water to any of the following water treatment plants or is within the zones identified in the below map then your application is likely to be delayed.

This map is indicative only and comprises Natural England datasets (downloaded on October 2020) and a Google Map base layer. See Natural England for latest definitive boundaries. 

Affected water treatment plants

  • Ashford (Bybrook) (Stour -Ashford Wye)
  • Canterbury (Stour A2 to West Stourmouth)
  • Charing (Upper Great Stour)
  • Chartham (Stour Wye –A2)
  • Chilham (Stour Wye- A2)
  • Dambridge (Wingham)
  • Lenham (Upper Great Stour)
  • May St (Herne Bay) (Oyster coast brooks)
  • Newnham valley (Little Stour)
  • Sellindge (East Stour)
  • Westbere (Stour A2 to West Stourmouth)
  • Wye (Stour –Ashford Wye)
  • Good intent cottages
  • Nats Lane Brook
  • Westwell

A map of waste treatment plants can be found here.

A way forward?

At this present time we consider there are three routes forward:

  1. Wait and see how the situation plays out. However, this may take some time. For instance, the Ashdown Forest nitrate issue significantly slowed down development for nearly 2 years.
  2. Engage in pre-application discussions directly with Natural England. This is a paid-for service but might help unlock your development.
  3. Explore ways of ensuring that waste water from your development does not go to any of the above treatment plants and is not otherwise discharged into the Stour catchment. Package treatment plants could be a solution or diverts to other treatment plants outside of the impact zone.

Further reading and next steps

If you want to dive into the detail then the latest guidance from Natural England is available here: LINK

Should you wish to discuss how this impacts upon your development strategy do please contact us on 01242 501003 or email